Bishop Would Tell Catholic Hospital to Ignore Barack Obama’s FOCA Abortion Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 30, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bishop Would Tell Catholic Hospital to Ignore Barack Obama’s FOCA Abortion Bill

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 30
, 2008

Arlington, VA ( — A Catholic bishop in Virginia says he would urge Catholic hospitals to ignore the so-called Freedom of Choice Act if Barack Obama signs it into law. The FOCA bill has been the subject of controversy because it could force Catholic and other private hospitals to do abortions.

Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington says he wouldn’t go as far as other bishops who suggested closing Catholic hospitals but he would refuse to allow them to comply with the FOCA’s abortion requirement.

Loverde doesn’t have any Catholic hospitals under his purview, but he commented on what he would do if he did.

“I would say, ‘Yeah, I’m not going to close the hospital, you’re going to arrest me, go right ahead. You’ll have to drag me out, go right ahead. I’m not closing this hospital, we will not perform abortions, and you can go take a flying leap,’" he said, according to a CNS News report.

“It will take away the right of Catholic hospitals not to do abortions, which I suspect would close them,” Loverde said.

“It’s quite a title, let me tell you,” Bishop Loverde said of the legislation’s title.

“It’s a misnomer, it’s neither free nor choice, so I don’t know where they got the name of the act, because it’s just crazy, because it has no freedom, and it has no choice, nobody has a choice for abortion," CNS reporting him telling an audience.

The FOCA bill, which Obama promised Planned Parenthood last year would be the first piece of legislation he would sign, would make unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy the national law.

It would also go further and overturn hundreds of state laws that reduce or limit abortions, including measures that allow Catholic and private medical centers or medical professionals like doctors and nurses to opt out of doing abortions.

The overturning of those laws concerned the nation’s Catholic bishops so much that, during their recent national meeting, they talked about the possibility of closing Catholic hospitals if FOCA becomes law to avoid being forced to do abortions.

Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago spoke up about the threats to Catholic health care under the bill.

“It could mean discontinuing obstetrics in our hospitals, and we may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our Catholic hospitals entirely,” Paprocki said. “It would not be sufficient to withdraw our sponsorship or to sell them to someone who would perform abortions. That would be a morally unacceptable cooperation in evil.”

“I do not think I’m being alarmist in considering such drastic steps,” he said. “We need to respond in a morally appropriate, responsible fashion.”

Experts say FOCA could increase abortions as much as 125,000 per year.

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